Scuttlebutt Today
  Archived Newsletters »
  Features »
  Photos »

SCUTTLEBUTT #345 - June 21, 1999

SUCCESS STORY -- a guest editorial by Betsy Altman
The Chicago NOOD with 205 boats and 1,400 sailors ran smoothly with no glitches except for light and shifty weather on two days and a stalled front producing rain, rain, rain on the third, with no wind, of course. I was the PRO on Circle C which featured Tarten 10s and J 24s among others. The Tartens had 37 boats in their section and started the sequence. We had a general recall right in the first race. In subsequent starts, we employed the technique which has been widely discussed Scuttlebutt, talking to the sailors on the VHF.

It was very successful and managed to achieve good clean starts in the races in which we used it. The final start was a true beauty. The sailors were complimentary on its use saying that it was" useful to learn where the line actually was", "removed bad air from an offending boat", "gave them fair starts", "prevented the starting practice they were accustom to."

One conservative sailor was unhappy, feeling that learning how to start without assistance is an important aspect of racing. Another was concerned that the technique would prevent dip starts. When he learned that the only identified offenders are those in danger of pulling a whole clump of boats over the line, he was pleased with it.

Overall, it was truly a success. Combined with our liberal courtesy broadcasts on all of our course changes and alert of impending stormy weather as boats finished one race, the sailors were complimentary about the communications and clarity of our approach. This group represents sailors who participate because they enjoy the sport, not for professional gain. I was excited that they embraced this open, inclusive style of race management.

With a dominant last race win, Torben Grael steering Kiwi Magic clinched the 12-Metre World Championship. Grael, the nominated tactician for the Italian Prada syndicate in the next America's Cup, won on a tie break, beating Luca Santella in Italia because he had four race victories to Santella's three. It was particularly sweet for Grael who had his Prada boss, Patrizio Bertelli, behind him to trim the running backstays. Kiwi Magic led the 12-boat fleet from the start and finished almost five minutes clear of Italia with Francois Pailloux' French Kiss third, and this also mirrored the final championship order.

Grael had taken time to understand what makes a 12-Metre tick, but his talent could not be stiffled for long in what is undoubtedly the best all-round 12-Metre ever designed and built. He showed his grasp at the start of the sixth race when he attempted a port tack start and realised that he couldn't quite cross the bows of Italia. He tacked close to leeward and let the boat's characteristics do the rest.

'If any other boat had done that,' said Dave Ullman, who was tactician for Santella on Italia, 'We would have rolled them, but Kiwi Magic hardly missed a beat and was soon out ahead of us.' In the final race, Grael was out and gone from the first minute. Ullman's shot calling was called into play as Italia approached the leeward mark outside of French Kiss. He called for a very late drop which had almost put Italia clear ahead and pre-empted the Frenchman's nervous rounding to take Italia past to leeward as they started the final beat.

Final Places: 1. Kiwi Magic ( N.Z; Daniele Gabrielli) 11.00 pts , 2. Italia I (Ita; Luca Santella) 11.00 pts , 3. French Kiss (Fra; Francois Pailloux) 14.00 pts, 4. South Australia (Fra ; Yannick Pollet) 18.00 pts , 5. Victory 83 (Ita; Gianni Gini) 31.00 pts, 6. Challenge 12 (Fra; Christian Hubbard) 38.00 pts, 7. Sovereign (Fra; Jacques Fauroux) 47.00 pts, 8. Tomahawk (Ita; Lorenzo Bortolotti) 47.00 pts, 9. Enterprise (Fra; Christian Trehard ) 48.00 pts, 10. Ikra (Fra; Olivier De Rosny) 55.00 pts, 11. Trivia of Gosport (Virgin I.; Christian Barberis) 56.00 pts, 12. Italia II (Ita ;FrancescoMenconi) 72.00 pts.

Event site:

People in Kiel (Germany) were overjoyed when officials announced today that Kiel is to become the final destination of the Volvo Ocean Race Round the World in June 2002. This regatta will be the most important in Germany and it is widely acknowledged as the world's premier ocean race. The agreement was signed by Helge Alten, Chief Executive of the Volvo Ocean Race and Lord Mayor Norbert Gansel at Kiel Townhall.

Lord Mayor Norbert Gansel said, "This is a great day for Kiel. Kiel is a world-class centre for sailing and regatta sport. We in Kiel will make sure that the Volvo Ocean Race Round the World will come to its ultimate climax in June 2002 and the concluding celebration which will last several days, will be an event of international importance.

Helge Alten, Chief Executive of the Volvo Ocean Race replied, saying, "Germany is one of the major markets in Europe, for race sponsors, syndicates and for Volvo." The venue in Kiel from June 7th to 12th, 2002 will be the area around the Kieler Yacht-Club, a club rich in tradition, situated near the former Olympic port, the Blucherbrucke, the Kiellinie and the Krusenkoppel. -- Dirk De Muynck

Event website:

What a difference a day made at the New York Yacht Club's Annual Regatta, presented by Rolex Watch USA. Winds on Friday, June 18, were patchy, scrambling races and racers. Saturday, however, the southwesterly sea breeze filled in, after a reluctant start, providing a great day at the races.

This was the 145th edition of the race in the New York Yacht Club's 155-year history. The 1999 edition, for example, saw the use of ORC Club Certificates, a first at the NYYC and, perhaps, in the U.S. This is a user-friendly companion to the IMS that integrates seamlessly with it. ORC Club shares the IMS's VPP and is fully compatible with its scoring. Being less complicated and, thus, less expensive for sailors, ORC Club is for more casual racers. . -- Michael Levitt

Full results:

When you win, you want everyone to know about it and nothing tells the story better than sharp looking crew apparel. For a winning program, the look of your crew gear is as important as the cut of your sails. Pacific Yacht Embroidery will take the time and make that special effort to set your crew apart from the crowd. Stack the odds in your favor -- get in touch with Frank Whitton to learn how affordable his high quality crew apparel can be.). Even if you lose you'll feel better because you look so good: / 619-226-8033

102 boats raced in 11 classes. Winds ranged from 8 - 18 knots. The Leukemia Cup 'Boat of the Week' award for the winner of the most competitive class went to Wings, Dennis and Sharon Case's Schock 35 from the San Diego YC.

Final results: SCHOCK 35 (17 boats, 5 races)-1. Wings, Dennis and Sharon Case, San Diego YC, 15 points; 2. Mischief, Mike Pinckney/Carolyn Hardy, Bahia Corinthian YC, 18; 3. Piranha, David Voss, Club de La Paz, 20. CATALINA 37 (11, 5)-1. Team Escapade, Mark Noble, Long Beach YC/Santa Barbara YC, 22; 2. Team Sheezaliedee, Silver/Hambrick/Infelise, Huntington Harbour YC, 23; 3. Team, W.T. Durant, LBYC, 24. OLSON 30 (7 boats, 6 races)-1. Perfect Balance, Rick Flucke, Channel Islands YC, 7; 2. Intense, Allan Rosenberg, Alamitos Bay YC, 11; 3. Eris, Jim Kerrigan, Bahia Corinthian YC, 19. CAL 25 (7, 6)-1. Eagle, Stone/Hammett, South Shore YC, 11; 2. Nemesis, Brown/Trent, HHYC, 17; 3. One Time, Art Melendres, LBYC, 18. CAL 20 (8, 6)-1. Lickety Split, Ron Wood/Van Wilson, Alamitos Bay YC, 9; 2. Breakfast Club, John Merchant, ABYC, 20; 3. T-Rex, Steve Washburn, Dana Point YC, 20. CLASS 50+/- (7 boats, 6 races)-1. Wasabi, Dale Williams, St. Francis YC, 8.38; 2. Cantata, Ron Kuntz, OYC, 17; 3. Bullseye, Bob Garvie, StFYC, 18.38. FARR 40 (5, 6)-1. Peregrine, David Thomson, StFYC, 11; 2. Flyer, Douglas Mongeon, Dana Point YC, 16; 3. Blue Chip, Walt Logan, San Francisco YC, 18. PHRF-A (9, 6)-1. Raven, Mark Thomas, Sierra Point YC, 14; 2. J-Bird, Dave Janes, Balboa YC, 20; 3. Excel's Growler, Neil Barth, Newport Harbor YC, 22. PHRF-B (7, 6)-1. Fast Lane, Kathy and Bob Patterson, California YC, 10; 2. Incisor, Dwire/Plander, Ventura YC, 20; 3. Defiance, Scott Taylor, Cabrillo Beach YC, 20.5. PHRF-C (8, 6)-1. Redline, Bob Marcus, ABYC, 15; 2. Joann, Steve Murphy, Seal Beach YC, 23; 3. Abracadabra II, Dennis Surtees, SFYC, 24. PHRF-D (18, 6)-1. Nocona, Gordon Miller, Oceanside YC, 21; 2. Old Yeller, Lee Lewis, Del Rey YC, 34.5; 3. Mach S, John Retter, San Diego YC, 37.

Complete results:

Ten boats -- after four races: 1 Moby Lines, E Cheffi 1 3 2 2 (8 points) 2. Barlo Plastics, A Stead 3 2 4 3 (12 pts) 3. Thomas I Punkt, K Jablinski 6 1 6 1 (14 pts) 4 Breeze, T Hutchinson 2 4 3 7 (16 pts) 5. New Yorker C Larson 5 6 1 6 (18 pts) 6. Pro Sail 3, A Willim 4 8 7 4 (23 pts) 7. Resco, W Sunesson 9 7 5 8 (29 pts) 8. Mean Machine, B Beeking 7 5 8 DSQ (31 pts) 9. Elbe III, J Diesch 8 10 9 9 (36 pts) 10. The Next, H Bloemers 10 9 10 (39 pts).

Event website:

Letters selected to be printed are routinely edited for clarity, space (250 words max) or to exclude personal attacks.

-- From Randy Smith, regular crew on Peter Tong's Farr 40 Orient Express -- I have read all the bantering for the last 2 weeks over Craig's comments. First, I am quite sure that Craig never intended to cause such a stir, and bring so many bad words out on the Farr 40 Class. Second, most of the bantering is being done by people who haven't sailed in the class. Interesting! In June of 1998, Peter Tong and his crew were preparing for our first regatta back east with the new OE. Peter requested that Pete Frazier, Craig Chamberlain, and myself apply as Category 1 Alternate Helmsman. We were all approved. We also began to see some good amatuers turned down - Bob Little, Steve Flam, Rich Matzinger etc. Why?

Most people who know Pete Frazier, Craig Chamberlain and myself know that we all work 50-60 hours a week or more in our respective professions (Chemical Coatings, Insurance and Real Estate). It is perceived by the sailing public (and Farr 40 owners) that our life is 90% work & personal and 10% sailing. I believe the perception of Flam, Matzinger, Fletcher and Little is that they spend much more time sailing in high caliber events as skippers, maybe 60%-40%.

To those who have not raced much in Farr 40's the rules may seem wrong or too subjective. The class has demonstrated continued growth, incredible racing, and room for both pros and amateurs alike. Although not liked by everyone, the rules are working, and the owners are having fun.

-- From Bruce Gresham -- I have to admit that these past few weeks I have been scrolling right down to the letters section to look for the latest episode of "Fletcher point/counterpoint." This is commentary at its best. However, I am sure most of your East Coast readers have no idea who this guy is

Curmudgeon's comment -- And how about the Hawaiian, Canadian, European, Kiwi and Australian readers? Although Fletch is one of the West Coast's more skilled and colorful racers (frequently, with hair to match), I would have cut off this thread long ago if it wasn't for the fact that some valid (and hopefully useful) points were being made about owner / driver rules. Last week I spoke with Peter Tong from the Farr Owner's Association and I know that they are paying attention and discussing potential changes.

-- From Jennie Fitzhardinge -- I agree wholeheartedly with Jeff Martin about preserving world championships. When I was a press officer of the Whitbread (89-90 & 93-94) I was struck by the diverse paths the sailors had taken to earn their berths on the W60s. Knut Frostad was a champion windsurfer, there were Star sailors, skiff sailors and kids that had grown up sailing on their family cruisers and had taken their backpacks to Europe where work in the marine industry finally led to a round-the-world race. The beauty of sailing is that there are so many different platforms on which to practice the art of harnessing wind & water. And for those that are seeking it, different platforms on which to gain recognition.

Secondly as a sailor of a non-Olympic class yacht, one day I plan to compete in a world championship - and I will have to borrow a boat to do it. I wouldn't be competing because I think I could win - I'd be there because I think I could learn so much. It would mean either saving or organising sponsorship for flights, charter fees etc etc but it would be worth it to be part of a world championship. Would I make that effort to go to a Gold Cup? Naaah!

What the ISAF people seem to be forgetting is that the many sailing participants are already spectators of the big events. What is the point of alienating us by concentrating on the Olympic or glamour classes to the detriment of the majority of sailors?

-- From Hugh Elliot -- I never cease to be amazed at the comments that are made comparing golf and sailing. The fact is that golfers play the course - not each other - and the outcome is determined by the one who plays the course best. Golf would be an interesting sport of the rules took into account a golfers ability to hit a good tee shot while his opponents are laughing, singing and dancing or trying to make a putt with an opponent standing directly on the line. But golf etiquette requires silence and stillness while another player is making a shot.

Tennis may have a more appropriate system. There used to be - maybe still is - the Volvo Rating System where a professional would evaluate a player's basic skills and award a numerical rating. Then competition would be between persons of equal or similar rankings.

How would we make a sailing handicap system work? Elapsed time, let the "high handicappers" start early or what?

In Paralympic (Disabled) Sailing - to level the game - we all carry a rating between 1 (most disabled) and 7 (least disabled). The three person team on a Sonar is allowed a maximum of 12 points and there is no racing advantage for having a lower than maximum number. Of course, like any development rule, this tends to encourage a "typical" team. Generally, it works reasonably well and makes sure that we never run out of things to complain about in the bar after racing!

-- From Ken Signorello (In reply to Vern Brickey -- RE: Personal Handicap system for sailing) -- There is such a system. It is called SALT - Sailing Achievement Level Table. You can learn about it at:

-- From Don Becker -- Regarding Kevin Ellis' comments about PHRF and accountability, when I was judging a regatta at Texas Corinthian Y.C. several years ago, one of the other judges was on the local PHRF Board. When you serve on the Galveston Bay PHRF Board your boat's rating is accessed -6 sec./mile as long as you are on the board. I think this is a great idea.

Curmudgeon's comment -- Oh my! What an interesting idea

-- From Jerry Fipps, Commodore, Southern California Ocean Racing Association -- Kevin Ellis should race AMERICAP -- a more challenging non-political handicap system. AMERICAP uses the US Sailing Velocity prediction (VPP), a sophisticated computer program to calculate the potential sailing performance of a yacht under various conditions and course configurations which is kept secret to reduce potential exploitations of the rule, and has proven to reduce the corrected time difference span from first to last position in all races compared to PHRF. Links to a comparison of handicap systems:

Closely-matched boat-for-boat competition will be the theme at Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island next week as the Storm Trysail Club's biennial week-long regatta gets under way. The starting guns for Race Week XVIII fire at 11:00 am Monday, just a few hours before the summer solstice at 3:49 PM, marking the official beginning of summer.

The current popularity of one-design ocean racing will be evident at race week with one-design starts for eight of the 20 classes competing. Adding to the intensity of the competition, closely-matched boats and tight rating bands will distinguish a number of the handicap classes. As always, Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF) boats will make up the bulk of the fleet, with 127 boats entered.

The addition of a third racing circle this year emphasizes the club's commitment to high quality competition. "The extra race course will be a major improvement for all entrants at Block Island week," said Commodore John Storck, Jr. "It permits us to divide the fleet into smaller, more evenly-matched classes and it means that we can diminish the waiting time for boats between races."

With the new circle, the Club will now have six Principal Race Officers (PROs) handling racing, with two on each course. Headed by Senior PRO Charlie "Butch" Ulmer, the team has unparalleled experience on-the-water race management experience.

While the majority of the boats hail from East Coast ports, entries from as far away as Hawaii, San Francisco, and Puerto Rico are part of the 222-boat fleet, a recent record for race week competition on the Block. The record was set in the early '80s with a 263-boat fleet.

The biggest one-design fleet racing is the J/105 class with 23 boats crowding the starting line. Masquerade, a San Francisco boat, skippered by Tom Coates, with an all San Francisco crew is the one to watch. Coates and his team won the Newport Gold regatta, campaigning their second-hand boat that they picked up for East Coast racing. They race a new J/105 out west. -- Keith Taylor

Daily reports, results and photos will be posted every racing day at:

US Sailing has their new website on-line. Not only does it look good -- it's full of very current news. Check it out:

Current and five-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I.), one of the world's most accomplished racing sailors and coaches, will conduct a one-day Rolex Women's Clinic on Friday, July 16th, in Newport, R.I. The clinic, to be held in participant-supplied J/24s on Narragansett Bay, will be hosted by Sail Newport and coincide with its 15th Anniversary Newport Regatta on July 17-18. Traditionally hosting over 60 boats in its hotly contested J/24 division, the regatta is one of the region's largest one-design events, with over 200 boats and 1200 sailors participating. This year, the event is expected to attract several all-women J/24 teams who are preparing for US SAILING's eighth biennial Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship -- also to be sailed in J/24s from the Sail Newport sailing facility - on September 19-25. Over 200 women participated in similar Rolex Women's Clinics given by Alison in 1997. She is a US SAILING Certified Instructor and has won the Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship five times.

The clinic fee is $50 per boat. If seven or more teams attend the clinic and go on to compete in the Newport Regatta, the top-finishing team from among them will get its entry fee waived for the Rolex Women's event. -- Barby MacGowan, Media Pro International

For more information about the Rolex Women's Clinic hosted by Sail Newport, contact Betsy Alison at 401-848-5146 or For a Newport Regatta entry form, contact Kimberly Cooper at 401-846-1983 or

All of your rigging needs are right at your fingertips, with experts standing by to make sure you don't make a mistake. Harken, Samson, Yale, Douglas Gill, Forespar, Lewmar, Ronstan, KVH, Spinlock, Marlow -- Sailing Supply not only has it, they'll ship it on the same day you call. You get the right stuff and the price is also right. They'll even pay for the call (800) 532-3831.

Sailing Supply currently has two job opportunities at their San Diego location -- Experienced Rigger and Wholesale Sales manger. Interested prospects should contact Bill Bennett at 619-225-9411

(Reprinted with permission from DEFENCE 2000, which is available for US $48 per year from

Many eyebrows have been raised in New Zealand over Rob Sutherland's resignation and immediate exit from his role as the chief executive of America's Cup Village Ltd. No explanation whatsoever has been forthcoming, but our grape vine tells us that apart from story # 1 above, there has been considerable tension between Sutherland and Sir Peter Blake's Team New Zealand. It all revolves around sponsorship money, both organisations competing for the same dollar.

The cancellation of what was to be a high profile entertainment program obviously has not helped the scene. There is virtually no public viewing areas of any size available in the Viaduct harbour except that now held by American Express, a site that was sold to them for big money. Sutherland was very active in foreshore development, and obviously Team New Zealand and Sir Peter Blake feel this has been to the detriment of the staging of the event. There are some who are sorry to see Sutherland's departure, but he leaves a scene of strained relationships between sponsors and the Village company. Five executive staff including their communications manager, Nina Williams, have departed the company, so the newcomer, Ian Collinson, a former Solid Energy head who has already taken over Sutherland's role, has a major work-load in front of him.

Meanwhile, Defence 2000 learns three of the six main sponsors of the Village have yet to sign their contracts (a nail biting time for the company's directors). Merrill Lynch is seeking to re-negotiate its contract, believing that the cancellation of the entertainment program materially affects their original sponsorship deal. Amex is another major sponsor that has yet to put pen to paper.

If you think you're really important, try giving orders to someone else's cat.